Former Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora Affairs, Osaze Osemwengie-Ero, has disclosed plans to lead a protest to the Italian Embassy in the next four weeks to demand the release of over 300 Nigerian youths illegally detained in Italian prisons over trumped-up charges.
Osemwengie-Ero, who returned to Benin City after over one year of illegal detention in Italy, said he was a victim of racial discrimination and manipulation of a corrupt prosecutor of the Italian Justice system.
He maintained that he was on an official trip to Germany in 2019 for a meeting on the Benin Artefacts Restitution Campaign when he was arrested in Amsterdam and illegally detained by the Italian government.
“We have over 300 Nigerian youths in Italian prisons illegally arrested and incarcerated for false allegations of mafia-related crimes. I have their list and I am making contacts with their families. I promised that we will not forget them.
“We will campaign against the corrupt Italian Justice system and I am going to lead a protest to the Italian Embassy within the next four weeks. The Italian justice system is complex and corrupt and they manipulate it a lot because they know nobody cares about Nigerians,” he said.
The former commissioner, who commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for his support and show of concern during his ordeal in Italy, said his arrest and incarceration had nothing to do with the state government or the governor.
“My arrest had nothing to do with money laundering. I wonder why people will say I was arrested with $2 million in my suitcase for the governor. The governor is too big for that, as he was already rich before he became governor. He is an investment banker and can’t do that. That was primitive politics,” he added.